Gov. Herbert signs Down syndrome abortion ban

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law could prohibit abortions solely on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

The governor’s office quietly announced the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act or House Bill 166 was among 87 other pieces of legislation signed into law Friday afternoon. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield), also “requires that a pregnant woman be provided certain information before receiving an abortion when a prenatal screening or diagnostic test indicates that the pregnant woman’s unborn child has or may have Down syndrome.” 

But the legislation signed Friday will only go into effect if a similar law is upheld in court elsewhere, a provision added to address criticism that it could embroil the state in an expensive lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah maintains that the bill is unconstitutional and “because of the trigger clause included in the bill,” it does not expect the abortion ban to ever go into effect.

Opponents of the ban say the personal, complex decision to terminate a pregnancy should be left to families and doctors. 

Similar laws in Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio have been blocked by courts.

Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Inside Utah Politics Logo

Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...